By Dale Madison
When was the last time you heard a Realtor tell you, “It’s an amazing time in the real estate market”?
Dale Russell— the man behind the Dale Russell Realty Network and the “face” of the Five Points intersection billboard— is “bullish” about local real estate, noting that lower inventory around town translates to increased sales.
“It’s the first time in 18 months that there has been a real decrease in inventory, and the first time prices have started to increase,” he notes. “Today, prices are up seven to 11% in Wilton Manors.”
Russell cites the Wilton Station condos as an example of the Law of Supply and Demand, and the evidence of its presence in South Florida’s gay village. He says prices there average $289,000, a jump from previous listing rates, and that just six units are currently available, compared with a year ago when 30 to 40 units were listed. Russell points to this and other markers that indicate a turnaround in the market.
Russell offers L’Hermitage on the beach as an example. The luxury oceanfront condo is now 10 years old, and very stable in terms of residents, with nothing available for sale, an almost unheard-of situation.
He also points to growth in neighboring Miami-Dade County.
“There are over 50,000 units currently under construction there,” Russell notes. “In that market, a group of investors got together and pooled their resources, and are making a huge difference there.”
Closer to home, Russell says that a lot of new growth in Wilton Manors comes from commercial ventures, with new restaurants, bars, and shops opening up along the Drive and Dixie Highway, and that rental prices are once again spiking, another indicator of economic recovery.
He also points to government programs for those with an eye on the real estate market.
“Currently, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are offering special incentives for buyers. They understand that they have to step up help restore confidence,” Russell says. Russell—the past President of The Pride Center at Equality Park and, with his business and life partner, Jan Carpenter, an active participant in local charitable activities and service organizations—was instrumental in helping The Pride Center obtain their new location on North Dixie Highway. Although he brokered the deal on the real estate side, Russell and his network refused to accept a commission for the transaction, donating their profit instead to help with The Pride Center’s renovations.
Russell said that it’s important to take what one hears about the real estate market in its proper context.
“You can’t listen to CNN or many of the local newscasts, because they are still talking ‘doom and gloom,’” he advises. “You really need to go online and look at what’s going on with the local markets. Get your facts and figures. Last year there were 11.1 million visitors to Greater Fort Lauderdale, and that exposure is huge, because so many of those people fall in love with the weather and the community, and they translate into potential buyers.”